Messi to be enjoyed – Luis Enrique

Barcelona boss Luis Enrique said he is savouring the chance to watch Lionel Messi after the Argentine notched his fifth hat-trick of the season in a 5-0 romp over Levante on Sunday.

Messi was at the heart of the action as he teed up Neymar for the opener and then struck three times either side of half-time to take his tally for the season to 37 on his 300th La Liga appearance.

Neymar was then replaced by Luis Suarez midway through the second-half and he also made his presence felt with a stunning overhead kick to round off the scoring.

Enrique had made eight changes to the side that had beaten Villarreal in the Copa del Rey in midweek, but dismissed suggestions he could have also taken the chance to withdraw Messi after he had completed his hat-trick.

“The idea is to enjoy. That is what we are doing, enjoying him as much as possible,” said Enrique.

The four-time World Player of the Year has been unstoppable in 2015 with 14 goals and 10 assists in 11 appearances.

That upturn in fortunes has coincided with Messi moving to a slightly wider position to allow Suarez to play as a central striker and Enrique lauded his ability to create as well finish.

“Against teams that play deep and with a lot of players in the middle of the field we need to have width and move the ball quickly to crate danger.

“It is key for us that Leo participates a lot, that he can have many touches to be able to create two or three on ones, makes passes and create space.

“When there are a lot of people in the middle it is harder for him to combine, so he has freedom to go where he can find space.”

Enrique received criticism earlier in the season for his rotation policy, but he is beginning to look justified as Barca enter a decisive part of the campaign on the back of an 11-game winning run, whilst Madrid have faltered in recent weeks.

“That was an objective we had at the start of the season to have a big squad with so much quality,” he said.

“Having so many quality players allows you to rotate. I would say that we have almost unlimited resources.”

Photo Credits : AFP

Enrique says Messi part of Barca future planning

Barcelona coach Luis Enrique is insisting a future without star player Lionel Messi has never been considered as speculation over the Argentine’s future continues to mount.

Tensions have been simmering at Barcelona with the coach insisting Messi play a wider role in the line-up.

Messi had appeared to rule out a move following a stunning individual performance in Sunday’s 3-1 win over La Liga champions Atletico Madrid.

“I have never demanded anything to ensure that I stay because I have never had any intention of leaving,” he told Barca TV.

However, the following day he fuelled the rumour mill once more by saying “I don’t know where I’ll be next year” during a press conference ahead of the Ballon d’Or gala in Zurich.

“I don’t know what the future will bring,” said Enrique when asked if he thought Messi would win a fifth Ballon d’Or whilst at Barcelona.

“We all think that Messi will be at Barcelona for the coming years, it is what all the fans want. We are not even planning a squad without Messi.”

The speculation has arisen due to a reported breakdown in communications between Messi and Enrique.

Messi was left on the bench as Barca fell to a shock 1-0 defeat in their opening game of the year away to Real Sociedad and then missed training the next day, claiming to have suffered from a stomach bug.

Later that day he followed Chelsea and two of their players Thibaut Courtois and Filipe Luis on social media site Instagram and sources in the Catalan press then claimed Messi had met with Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu to ask for the former Barca captain Enrique to be replaced as coach.

Both Messi and Bartomeu have since denied those claims, with the former particularly aggrieved that the reports surfaced in the Catalan press.

“It hurts me because it comes from here, from Barcelona, from people that love the club, or say they do. It doesn’t come from Madrid like it has in the past,” said Messi.

“It is not good that they look for rivalry between Luis Enrique and I because there isn’t any.”

And Enrique repeated his assertion that there is no division in the dressing room ahead of a demanding schedule in the coming weeks as Barca battle to advance in the Copa del Rey and the Champions League, as well as clawing back a one-point deficit on La Liga leaders Real Madrid.

“The dressing room is united. We avoid the controversy and look for the best atmosphere possible.

“That is what we look for, although we know that things can change in five seconds. I see unity in every aspect.”

Enrique’s men are back in action on Thursday night when they face Elche in the second leg of their last 16 of the Copa del Rey.

The match should be a mere formality with Barcelona having won the first leg 5-0 last week and Enrique confirmed that a host of the club’s academy players would get a chance to prove their worth with a much tougher test in either Real Madrid or Atletico Madrid lying in wait should Barca progress to the last eight.

Photo Credits : AFP

Major Throwback Song: Enrique Iglesias Hero

Enrique Iglesias is a spanish singer, songwriter, actor and record producer. He is 1 of the best selling spanish artists and has sold more than 100million records worldwide.

The 39-year-old star has often been referred to as The King of Latin Pop and The King of Dance

Hero is a song from his second album Escape written by Paul Barry, Mark Taylor and himself. The song was first released in September 2001.